The debate over how players in the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game should be deployed can begin in earnest now that the rosters are filled.
Forwards Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic Division), Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Metropolitan Division), Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche (Central Division) and Troy Terry of the Anaheim Ducks (Pacific Division) were named Last Men In on Tuesday, giving each division an 11-man roster.
But which players should be on the same line in the 3-on-3 tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Feb. 5 (3 p.m. ET; ABC, SN, TVAS)?
Each roster features nine skaters and two goalies. The winners of each semifinal game play for a $1 million prize going to the championship team.
To further the debate, NHL.com enlisted a writer to play the part of each division coach: Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers (Atlantic), Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes (Metropolitan), Jared Bednar of the Avalanche and Peter DeBoer of the Vegas Golden Knights (Pacific).
Each writer was asked to put together three lines and select a starting and backup goalie.
Here are the results:
Auston Matthews (TOR) — Dylan Larkin (DET) — Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA)
Patrice Bergeron (BOS) — Steven Stamkos (TBL) — Victor Hedman (TBL)
Drake Batherson (OTT) — Nick Suzuki (MTL) — Rasmus Dahlin (BUF)
Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL)
Jack Campbell (TOR)
I’m starting off by placing two forwards with exceptional speed — Matthews, who is captain — and Larkin on a line with Huberdeau, whose playmaking and vision will allow him to distribute the puck where needed. The second line is veteran-heavy and savvy, with Bergeron alongside Lightning teammates Stamkos and Hedman. The hockey intelligence, skill and pedigree of three players who have each won the Stanley Cup, should match up with anyone in this All-Star Game. That leaves a future line, made up of 23-year-old Batherson, 22-year-old Suzuki and 21-year-old Dahlin, each of whom is playing in his first All-Star Game. Vasilevskiy brings his own Cup credentials, with his history giving him the slight edge on Campbell for the start. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
Alex Ovechkin (WSH) — Sebastian Aho (CAR) — Adam Fox (NYR)
Jake Guentzel (PIT) — Claude Giroux (PHI) — Zach Werenski (CBJ)
Chris Kreider (NYR) — Jack Hughes (NJD) — Adam Pelech (NYI)
Frederik Andersen (CAR)
Tristan Jarry (PIT)
Ovechkin’s goal-scoring, Aho’s two-way play and Fox’s puck-moving skill from the defense make for a potent starting combination and likely a perfect mix for Ovechkin, the fan-elected captain playing in his eighth All-Star Game. Playing Pennsylvania rivals Guentzel and Giroux together with Werenski should be an exciting line to watch. That leaves the three first-time all-stars from the New York/New Jersey area — Kreider (New York Rangers), Hughes (New Jersey Devils) and Pelech (New York Islanders) — to put their local rivalries aside and have some fun. Andersen has been a rock in net for the Hurricanes, so Brind’Amour probably rewards him with the start. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Kirill Kaprizov (MIN) — Nathan MacKinnon (COL) — Cale Makar (COL)
Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — Nazem Kadri (COL) — Joe Pavelski (DAL)
Kyle Connor (WPG) — Clayton Keller (ARI) — Jordan Kyrou (STL)
Juuse Saros (NSH)
Cam Talbot (MIN)
My top line features two of the most dazzling goal-scorers in the NHL in MacKinnon, the captain, and Kaprizov. Makar, a defenseman who can generate offense like a forward, completes the line. DeBrincat and Kadri know how to get the puck on net, and they’re teamed with Pavelski, who is a master at the art of scoring goals from tight spaces. The third line has proven offensive performers in Connor, Keller and Kyrou. Connor and Kyrou are in their first All-Star game; Keller his second. Saros starts in goal because he has been the backbone of Nashville’s surprisingly strong first half. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Connor McDavid (EDM) — Leon Draisaitl (EDM) — Jordan Eberle (SEA)
Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) — Mark Stone (VGK) — Alex Pietrangelo (VGK)
Timo Meier (SJS) — Troy Terry (ANA) — Adrian Kempe (LAK)
John Gibson (ANA)
Thatcher Demko (VAN)
McDavid, the captain, playing with Draisaitl is a no-brainer. Adding Eberle to the mix makes it a reunion; the Seattle Kraken forward played with McDavid and Draisaitl in Edmonton for two seasons from 2015-17. Stone and Pietrangelo, the lone defenseman on the roster, belong together as members of the Golden Knights, the host team. Stone is almost like an extra defender playing a forward position, and Gaudreau gives the line playmaking flare. The third line of Meier, Terry and Kempe is a tribute to the resurgence of the three California teams (Anaheim, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings) this season. Gibson’s veteran status (third All-Star Game) breaks the tie as starting goalie rather than Demko, who is making his debut. — Dan Rosen, senior writer